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Taliban spokesman says Baitullah Mehsud is alive
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Hakimullah Mehsud, main spokesman for Pakistani Taliban, Monday phoned to journalists and said Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud is alive and that he will present proofs to substantiate his claim.

However, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik insisted in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, that a doctor who treated Baitullah, chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, has also confirmed that he had died in the night between Aug. 5 and Aug. 6.

He said that intelligence sources have also confirmed that Baitullah was killed in a United States drone strike on Wednesday and that he will carry out DNA test and to collect more evidence.

But Hakimullah Mehsud phoned Monday afternoon to journalists in Islamabad and Peshawar to deny the Minister's claim.

"I will present proofs to show that Baitullah Mehsud is alive if the Interior Minister did not produce evidence to prove that the Taliban chief is killed," said Hakimullah.

Malik also claimed that Taliban leader Hakimullah has been killed and another leader Waliur Rehman was injured as the result of infighting in Taliban council meeting.

The Minister also claimed that Taliban leaders Hakimullah and Waliur Rehman have fought over their funds.

Hakimulalh Mehsud denied any fighting in the Taliban council meeting and said that all members are united under the "Amir", chief Baitulalh Mehsud.

He also warned the media to desist from what he called spreading rumours, and said that Taliban have appointed Azam Tariq as a new spokesman.

There has been no independent confirmation of the claims and counter claims through independent sources.

(Xinhua News Agency August 11, 2009)

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